Good Things and What to Think About When You Take a Cold Shower After Sauna

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Written By Rachel Mcadms

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Cold Shower After Sauna: A Refreshing Tradition

Taking a cold shower after enjoying a sauna is more than just a method to cool off; it’s a vital part of the Nordic Cycle. This tradition comes from countries like Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. It is known for its health benefits. When you sit in a hot sauna room, your body gets overheated. After about 20 minutes, stepping into cold water or taking a cold shower is not just refreshing but has a deep cleansing and calming effect on your skin and body.

This mix of hot and cold has been a popular practice in Nordic countries. It’s a way to release tension, improve circulation, and increase the benefits for your health. The cold plunge or shower helps your body to employ a bout of intense reaction that is beneficial. This age-old technique is not just about dipping into cool water after getting hot. It’s about experiencing an extended, fully relaxed state that benefits both mind and body. It’s a form of therapy many individuals today still enjoy and understand its importance.

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Is the Sauna Cold Plunge Routine Safe?

Finns have been soaking in hot baths and then jumping into cold water for centuries. This practice is an extension of their culture and tradition. It started around 1000 AD. Cold plunging therapy and hydrotherapy are types of therapies. Research studies show they offer relief from some ailments. But, there are safety guidelines to follow. This is because there can be adverse side effects. The advantages of this practice are many. Yet, procedures need to be established. Each study shows required steps for safety.

Should You Take an Ice Bath Before or After the Sauna?

A frequent inquiry is about the order of hot and cold technique with sauna and ice baths. Which is preferable? The answer is ice bath after sauna. Heat therapy from a sauna makes you healthier. It works by raising stress levels in a good way. This helps your body’s adaptational responses. Then, cold treatments like ice baths slow down cellular processes. This reduces inflammation. It makes cells healthier by constricting blood vessels.

Think of a sauna session before ice bath like exercise. It increases heart rate and releases heat-shock proteins. Your body necessitates an adaptation to this. The approach is to raise the tempo with a hot sauna session and then bring down the heat with an ice bath. This is the healthier order.

Ways to Add a Cold Plunge to Your Sauna Time

Step One: Drink

Before you enter the sauna, drink at least one litre of water. This helps prevent symptoms of dehydration.

Step Two: Inside

Stay inside the sauna. If you are new users, keep it under twenty minutes. For experienced ones, up to forty-five minutes is okay.

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Step Three: End

When you end your sauna session, make sure to rehydrate and towel off.

Step Four: Beginners

For beginners, start with a lukewarm to cool shower. Avoid hot water. Stay under for about 30 seconds. Intermediate users can try a cold shower for up to 2 minutes. Experts might fill a bathtub with cold water and a bag of ice.

Elite-level athletes sometimes go for an ice bath for 5-10 minutes. Know your limits. Watch your body for signs you’ve had enough. Respond by getting out if you start feeling too cold or your core temperature is raising too much.

Good Things About Taking a Cold Plunge After a Hot Sauna

Experts agree that the mix of heat from a sauna and the cold shock from a plunge is good for us, but we must do it safely. It’s important to put together both with respect for our body’s limits. This is very significant for people with preexisting cardiovascular or respiratory problems.

Taking a hot sauna and then a cold plunge gives both physical and psychological benefits. The change is immediate and apparent. Acclimating to these shifts is a potent combination. To get the most out of a sauna bath, this powerful combination of health benefits is key.

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1. It Boosts the Immune System

Going from outdoor saunas to a cold water plunge is a technique to build up your immune system. This change helps increase lymphatic circulation. This network in your body helps in the removal of germs, bacteria, and waste in an effective manner. Doing the sauna cold plunge routine can flush out stuff so your immune system can operate at its best. The cold water plunge works by tightening the lymph vessels for faster removal of waste, boosting the white blood cell count, and resistance to pollutants. Your body activity feels refreshed, both inside and outside the sauna. Your body is working hard, keeping you healthy.

2. It Has a Detoxifying Power

Hot sauna baths followed by cold plunges get the lymphatic system working more efficiently. This is a method for triggering better lymphatic circulation. The combination of a hot sauna bath and cold immersion helps to flush out waste from the body. This has an overall detoxifying effect on your body system!

3. Improves Blood Circulation

When you enter a sauna, your body adjusts to the hot environment. Then, it quickly changes to a cold environment with a plunge. This shock and change make blood vessels constrict and reduce circulation, which elevates blood pressure levels. While intense shocks may not always seem appealing, this is beneficial for your body system. Blood concentration gets close to skin during a sauna session but needs to go back to vital organs like the heart, which work slowly in the heat. A cold plunge helps rapidly transport blood back to vital organs so they can operate properly and enhance oxygen delivery throughout the body.

4. How Hot and Cold Baths Burn Fat and Aid Weight Loss

Mixing hot and cold technique with cold plunging after sauna sessions makes your body burn fat faster. This could help you lose weight. When you get into cold water, like an ice bath after being in a warm sauna, it wakes up brown adipose tissue in your body. This tissue burns fat to make energy. A cold water dip after the sauna feels like doing a light to medium cardio workout. It gets your heart rate and metabolic rate up, so you burn more calories. Using both hot sauna and cold plunging is a great way to help with weight loss. But just cold plunging and sauna bathing by themselves can’t fix or stop illnesses. Eating healthy, getting good sleep, and managing stress well are also very important.#5. The Perfect Stress Relief

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Relaxing in a sauna, some say Sanctuary 3, with hot air can make your mind wander off and help relieve stress. Being in a sauna feels good and makes your body release endorphins, like beta-endorphin. This neurotransmitter makes you feel happier and more energetic, gives you calm, and helps you handle pain better. Taking a cold plunge after feels really good. It wakes up the sympathetic nervous system, which is all about fight or flight. Cold therapy makes your breathing better and calms down parts of your body that stress out. This is really important for stress relief. Getting into ice water teaches you how to stay calm in tough times, keep your composure, and control how you react to stress. This really changes the way we deal with relaxation and stress and gets better at breathing..

6. Reduces the Discomfort Post-Work of Soreness

After sweating in a sauna, it’s common for skin and muscle soreness to set in, especially after outdoor saunas or bath sessions following an intense workout. When the body is pushed to its limits, soreness can last from 24 to 72 hours. A spa session with a cold plunge can alleviate this discomfort immediately after the session. While some think warm water is superior to cold water for pain relief, there’s a grain of truth to the powerful effect of cold in relieving pain.

7. Rejuvenates Skin

A hot sauna followed by a cold plunge can improve blood flow and skin health, making you look more youthful and radiant. The circulation boost from the heat and the fast closure of pores from the cold water can prevent germs from infecting the skin and stop skin conditions from developing. Cold shower enthusiasts know that even a cool shower greatly influences skin health!

8. Helps With Inflammation Related Ailments

It’s common for people using a sauna to look for a cure for arthritis and other difficulties. After a sauna session, fluid in the joints can make inflammation rear its ugly head the next day, especially after an intense session. Individuals often experience pain in their joints and bones. In this situation, a cold plunge can be an effective treatment for those suffering. Ice baths can decrease inflammation and, with improved blood flow, reduce pain in no time!

9. Enhancing Pleasure

Coldwater gives a rush of norepinephrine, a chemical in the body that enhances pleasure after a hot sauna bath. This stress hormone and neurotransmitter affects mood, anxiety, and other processes. It supports wakeful rest and helps you focus and concentrate. For those with mood disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety problems, the heat and cold treatment can be helpful. Increased blood flow from the heat and cold raises heart rate and adrenaline, which boosts production of endorphins. These reduce pain and raise morale.

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How Long Should Cold Showers and Cold Plunges Last?

After a sauna, cold plunges and showers help cool down. It’s best to stay in chilly water for 10 to 20 seconds at first. This shift from heat makes your body immerse in a new state, beyond just washing for hygienic reasons. It’s a time to relax while cooling down. Blood flow gets redirected inward from skin and subcutaneous tissue as blood vessels tighten. This changes the volume of blood going to inner organs like the kidneys. When your whole body is immersed in water, rerouting of blood to inner organs is significant. People with high blood pressure should note this might increase blood pressure.

Taking a cold shower is easy. Use a showerhead or hose for a cold spray of water. Start from extremities and move to the center of the body. This helps adjust blood vessels gradually.

How Cold Does The Plunge Need To Be?

The coldest a plunge should be is not about reaching freezing points. The usual practice is a mild chill to activate the central nervous system and improve cognitive function. Extreme temperatures for lengthy durations are not necessary to get the effect. Brown fat gets activated by lowering skin temperatures. The minimum temperature needed to activate brown fat and generate inner heat is about 19 degrees Celsius (66.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

After spending 15 minutes in a 125°F sauna, a 30 seconds dip in an ice bath or cold plunge is a good method. Repeat this process three times if you’re just feeling chilly and can withstand it. This helps activate brown fat and ensures heat shock proteins are generated.

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Why You Should Be Careful with Hot Sauna Cold Plunger
The hot and cold technique might not be good for all. It’s not usually recommended for people with high blood pressure or those who don’t do well with big temperature changes. These changes can be too much for the body system. For some, like pregnant women, it’s smarter to not do the cold plunge at all. Experts say a quick dip is better than staying in the cold too long. After being in a sauna, staying in cold water for a long time can take away too much heat from your body, which can be dangerous. It’s a good idea to talk to a doctor first if you have any health concerns before you try this.

Are There Any Risks to Cold Plunges/Baths?

Cold plunges and baths can be beneficial both mentally and physically, but there are risk factors. People with respiratory or cardiac issues, high blood pressure, or lung issues should avoid ice baths. The shock to the system can be detrimental and, in extreme cases, lead to a fatal result. Those who are pregnant should also avoid cold baths. If you have any conditions or underlying conditions, it’s wise to consult with a doctor. Even if it’s a workout rest day, spending longer than necessary in an ice bath can be more than your body can handle. A good rule is to limit time in an ice bath to avoid serious adverse effects.


Using a sauna and an ice bath is big in wellness and fitness circles. Many see it as a game-changer for health improvements. When you keep practicing contrast therapy, you aim mostly at post-workout recovery. A sauna session right after a workout can be very beneficial. But, taking a cold bath right after might impede your workout session gains. It could slow down muscle growth and adaptation for up to 48 hours after the bath. Yet, cold therapy acts as a stimulant and is often recommended for recovery to help muscles relax and recover. On the other hand, heat therapy from a sauna encourages healing and adaptation in the body.

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Is it good to take a cold shower after a sauna?

Taking a cold shower after a sauna can help reduce pain from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and improve circulation by reducing vasoconstriction, a problem in hypertension. The cold immersion, whether a plunge or shower, helps the body boost its antioxidant capabilities and increases white blood cells.

How long should I wait to shower after a sauna?

It’s recommended to wait 10-15 minutes after a sauna session before taking a shower. This gives your body time to cool down and your heart rate to return to normal. Jumping straight into a cold shower can strain the heart and lead to dizziness or fainting.

Should you wash your face with cold water after a sauna?

Yes, as the last step for clear, bright skin after an infrared sauna, rinse with cold water. This helps pores on the skin and the rest of the body return to normal before you dry off for the day.

Why am I cold after the sauna?

After experiencing the intense heat of a sauna or steam room, blood rushes to the skin and limbs for cooling. When you exit the sauna, your body cools down quickly, leading to a drop in body temperature and making you feel cold. It takes the brain some time to adjust back to normal.

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